Hardy Annuals can be sown outdoors directly in the soil in spring, where they are to flower. They withstand frosty conditions without protection. Include: Sweet Alyssum, Calendula, Dianthus, Nasturtium and Annual Phlox.
Half-Hardy annuals, are frost tender plants that complete their life-cycle in one season. As such, they are often grown from seed sown indoors. Cosmos, Marigolds, Impatiens, Celosia and Zinnia
Hardy biennials (or short lived perennials grown as biennials) are plants which complete their life-cycle in two seasons. These include Forget-Me-Not, Ornamental Brassicas, Foxglove, Hollyhock and Sweet William
Tender Perennials live for several years, usually flowering from their second season. Frost tender, they are often discarded at the end of the season, but some can be kept for more than one year if provided appropriate conditions. These include English Daisy, Geraniums, Caladium, Tuberous Begonias and Impatiens
Half-Hardy, or Tender sub-tropical plants, are often used as focal points or centerpieces. These are plants that can tolerate temperatures down to about freezing, but not much lower, including Cannas, Dahlias, some palms, and bananas.
Hardy Perennials and Shrubs provide seasonal interest with flowers and foliage color, some even during winter months. They may be used for focal points, in beds and containers. These plants include dwarf conifers, ornamental grasses, Agave, Bergenia and English Ivy.
Bulbs may be mixed with biennial and perennial plants to give combinations of color in early spring months.
Achromatic Colors (White, Black and Gray) have no hue and are considered neutral. While humans can perceive each, as light, white is not a color, but rather, it is the sum of all radiations, or wavelengths, while black is the total absence of light. As paint, white is a primary; it cannot be obtained from other colors. Black is a secondary pigment created by using other colors.
Grays in the landscape are not true grays, more often they are pale yellow-greens and bluish-greens. Some plants possess waxy leaf surfaces or hairs that reflect light, creating a “gray” appearance. Just as our ability to perceive colors will diminish at dusk, allowing us to see in blacks and whites with some gradiations in between, gray colors in plants are produced by reducing the intensity of white light.
Rich colors possess both low value (are dark) and high saturation (high color content). Because rich colors have low value, they generally show best close up. Rich colors provide an excellent foil (contrast or complement) to light colored backdrops. Rich colors may be mixed easily; the dark value of rich colors provides a strong sense of unity.
Muted colors possess medium value (grayish) and low saturation (color content). Muted colors are darker than pale colors; pale colors possess higher value than do muted colors. Muted colors may be used alone, or as a contrast to brightly colored foliage and flowers. The medium value of muted colors makes them appear closer and larger than dark colors, and smaller and more
Vivid colors possess high saturation (color content) at their natural levels. Each vivid color has a unique saturation. Vivid colors are usually the colors first noticed in any setting. Vivid colors work well as accents. As with all colors, vivid colors will appear grayer from a distance.
Pale colors (hues) possess high value and low saturation, or color content. Pale colors are most appropriately used as background and connecting colors. As with pastels, pale colors are difficult to use in bright sunlight; will “wash out”. Pastels are very useful in creating compositions of varying values.
Pastels possess both high value (white level) and comparatively high saturation, or color content. Pastels reflect a great deal of light, therefore draw the eye. Due to their high white level, pastels can “wash out” in bright sunlight.
Virginia Cooperative Extension, Norfolk Unit
You can garden almost anywhere!
Control growing medium
Easier than gardening in beds; good for people who are
Low cost/low input
Easy to experience success
Plant earlier in spring
Plants and/or seeds
Choose the right size for the plants you are
Disinfect containers by scubbing in 10%
bleach solution prior to planting
Season new clay pots by soaking in water for
at least 15 minutes
Use styrofoam packing peanuts in the bottom
of large containers to reduce weight and
If using light containers, use pea gravel;
diminish likelihood of toppling under high
Pre-moisten soil prior to use
If possible, drainage holes on side of container
Selecting a growing medium –
Water and nutrient retention
High porosity to ensure good
aeration and root growth
Low bulk density; light and
Free from pathogens, weed
The Right Soil
Commercial mixes (such as “Container Mix”)
Organic Blend (5 gallons finished compost, 1 gallon
builder’s sand, 1 gallon vermiculite or perlite, and 1
cup granular all purpose organic fertilizer)
Standard Blend (1 bushel vermiculite, 1 bushel
ground sphagnum moss, 8 tbsp. 0-20-0, 8 tbsp.
ground limestone, 2 cups bone meal.)
Garden Soil (50% pasteurized garden soil, 25%
ground sphagnum peat moss, 25% builder’s sand)
Selecting a growing medium,
Avoid using soil from the garden
Avoid using peat moss
Use soilless growing medium containing
a blend of sphagnum peat moss, perlite,
vermiculite, to which compost 25%
compost has been added
Water and Nutrients -
Water retaining polymers
Drip irrigation systems
Container grown plants generally require more
water and nutrients than plants in the ground
Water until all the medium is moist, and water
runs out of the drainage holes
Water as necessary
Consider using mulch in large containers to
reduce moisture evaporation
Cluster containers to minimize moisture loss
Avoid using softened water, as it contains
Nutrients – Some Tips
Consider a slow-release fertilizer
Weekly, water with a diluted (1/2
strength) water soluble fertilizer
Consider the fertilizer as it relates to the
plants being grown